This bridge carries a private driveway over Panther Creek, a short distance from the Owens Road Bridge. Some rumors were that this bridge was the previous bridge at Owens Road which was moved here in 1913. However other sources indicate the previous Owens Road Bridge washed out in a floor in 1913.
This bridge is one of the rarest types of metal bridges, the bowstring truss. Most bridges of this type date to the 1870s. Like most bowstrings from this period, this example has unusual details at the connections (evidence that this bridge was built during a period of experimentation in bridge design), and with this bridge most of the unusual details involve the bottom chord connections. At the same time, this bridge has some details that are less unusual and more like the standards that arose in the 1880s. For example, the top chord connections have traditional eyebar diagonals held in place by a simple pin. The top chord is a traditionally composed built-up box beam. These more standard details may suggest this is a later ca. 1880 example of a bowstring truss. It appears to be the work of the Wrought Iron Bridge Company. Most bowstrings remaining by this company have unusual columns for the top chord, but the company's catalogues did advertise bowstrings with box beam top chords as well, and this bridge appears to be a rare surviving example of that. The bridge's historic integrity is outstanding, the only loss seems to be that one of the struts is missing. The bridge only has one, it would originally have had two.
As of 2014, the owner of the property had erected some manner of welded truss bridge next to the bowstring truss, effectively bypassing the historic bridge. Fortunately, the owner appears to be leaving the historic bowstring truss standing, and has not demolished it.
Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory
The bridge carries a private drive over a stream at 8455 Sugar Grove Road in a rural setting with scattered modern and period houses. The bridge serves a 1.5-story, vernacular house (ca. 1920-30) on the north side of the stream.
The 1-span, 80'-long, 6-panel bowstring, thru truss bridge is supported on stone abutments. The upper chord is a built-up section of toe-out channels with cover plate and battens. There is upper-lateral bracing of laced angles between the arch crowns at midspan. The verticals are laced angles, and the diagonals are loop-welded eyebars. The lower-chords are bars with riveted splice plates. The upper-chord connections are pins. The lower-chord connections are formed by cast-iron connecting pieces that rest atop the built-up fishbelly floorbeams and have cradles to hold two pins for the diagonal connections. The lower vertical connections are formed by bolts that pass through the flanges of the floorbeams. Another cast-iron piece rests atop the lower chord bars, forming a spacer as well as a cradle for looping an inverted U-shaped hanger for the floorbeam.
The bridge has integrity of materials and design. It is unknown if this is its original location.
Summary of Significance
The ca. 1880 bowstring truss bridge is a technologically significant example of its type/design based on its state of completeness and details, especially the lower-chord connection (Criterion C). The lower-chord
connection is similar in style to documented examples built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company, but it is not the patented tubular upper chord associated with the company's earlier work from the 1870s (see, e.g., 5930197). This
bridge may represent a transition design from the tubular upper chords of the 1870s to a more conventional upper chord of channels with cover plate and battens. This is the only identified bowstring truss bridge in the inventory
with this combination of details.
The bridge is one of the 22 extant bowstring truss bridges that survive in the state. Having so many is remarkable, and even though they are "common" based on their numbers, each is an important and irreplaceable record of the development of the metal truss bridge and the ingenuity associated with the Ohio industrial development. The bridge has high significance.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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